Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries
(RIL) posted a 17.9 per cent year-on-year growth in its June 2018 quarter (Q1) net profit (excluding exceptional items) on the back of robust performance of its petrochemicals (petchem) operations as well as strong show in the retail and telecom businesses.
For the April-June 2018 quarter, RIL posted a net profit of Rs 94.59 billion compared to Rs 91.08 billion reported in the year-ago quarter, which is a rise of 3.9 per cent.
However, the year-ago period included an exceptional gain of Rs 10.87 billion. Adjusted for this, the net profit in year-ago quarter would work out to Rs 80.21 billion.
The company’s revenue (net of duties such as GST and excise) for the quarter under review surged 54.3 per cent to Rs 1.29 trillion from Rs 835 billion during the April to June quarter of the financial year 2017-18.
In a Bloomberg poll, analysts had estimated the consolidated revenue at Rs 1.27 trillion and net profit at Rs 95.54 billion.
While the lower-than-expected profit is due to a strong rise in finance costs, fall in other income and surge in taxes, the operational performance was good across most businesses.
Earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) for the petrochemicals business, for instance, was Rs 78.57 billion, almost double the Rs 40.31 billion in the year-ago quarter. Even sequentially, it was up 22 per cent.
“The big standout is the petchem business. Before we started the expansion in FY13, the segment’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation or operating profit (EBITDA) for the whole year was at this (Q1FY19) level. Petchem benefitted from volume increase and margin expansion,” said V. Srikanth, joint chief financial officer of RIL.
The increase in revenue is mainly on account of higher realisations of refining and petrochemical products led by 49 per cent year-on-year increase in Brent crude oil price. The company said in a statement that increased revenues also reflect higher volumes with start-up and stabilisation of petrochemicals projects.
With the completion of expansion in the petchem segment, Srikanth said volumes for the business will stabilise at the current levels. Sharing a timeline on the refinery off-gas cracker (ROGC) project, the company officials added that four of the 10 gasifiers are operational, and the rest will be stabilised in the coming quarter. This project is adding to the division's profitability, a trend likely to sustain, going ahead.
RIL’s gross refining margins (GRM) for the June quarter was seen at $10.5 per barrel, lower than the $11.8 per barrel reported in the same period a year ago. The company attributed this to weakness in the light distillates segment. However, the GRM number is along Street expectations.